Advanced Leadership and Strategic Planning

A brief look into a course offered here in fall, 2014 through our CAPA education center for the advancement of public action.

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LED Street Light Project

The Environmental Protection Agency has had a partnership with Bennington College and Professor Susan Sgorbati for the past two years. Susan teaches a class called “Solving the Impossible”, where students look at intractable problems and develop skills to work towards solutions. The 22 students in last year’s class decided to tackle the issue of climate change and energy efficiency.

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7 Capacities You Need to Change the World

Move into new domains, ask the right questions, observe. Bennington students and fellows share seven capacities that will help individuals shape a better world.

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How is building a chair like working in government? Where does a movement in music intersect with a social movement? Why does solving climate change involve more than the study of the environment? Bennington students describe the intersections.

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Field Work

During an annual seven-week internship period, called Field Work Term, Bennington students are able to bring their studies to the world, confronting the challenges of implementation firsthand and refining their questions to further shape their on-campus experiences.

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The First Fellows

  • An Internet pioneer.
  • A global health policy analyst.
  • The chief medical officer for the state of Tennessee.
  • A communications strategist.
  • The technology advisor to the mayor of Boston.
  • What brings them all to Bennington?

The College’s Center for the Advancement of Public Action: CAPA.

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CAPA Initiatives are multi-year programs that respond to an urgent issue in the world. The goal of CAPA Initiatives is to build publics—communities of interest and involvement—around pressing problems. These initiatives creatively assemble the resources of Bennington College around a specific issue and connect them to external stakeholders and organizations. This includes courses from across disciplines at the college; extracurricular and Field Work Term opportunities for students; trainings and workshops for local and college community members; curated exhibitions and engaged social practices in art; conferences that convene stakeholders and advance new solutions; and publications or programs that extend the work of CAPA Initiatives into wider audiences. CAPA Initiatives are designed in collaboration with local, national, and/or international groups and result in public action to foster better infrastructure, enable and create sustainable design, and to promote human rights.


CAPA Conversations are semester to year-long public dialogues. The goal of CAPA Conversations is to foster discussion around a complex issue or emerging crisis—discussion that can ground and orient further interventions. CAPA Conversations provide a venue for Bennington College to learn about issues not otherwise covered in the curriculum; to workshop innovative solutions to entrenched problems; to bring officials and stakeholders into conversation; and to collaborate with existing groups outside the College. Members of Bennington College or the outside community initiate and organize CAPA Conversations with new proposals considered on a rolling basis. We are particularly interested in proposals that bring novel attention to policy shifts, complex systems, and practical innovations.